" I was the one who worried the most for the family. I contributed the most to the family. Yet, I am the least loved by my parents."
A lady, probably in her late 30's, whom I have not known for very long, shared this. It seemed that these words lingered constantly on her lips and so needing an audience. She went on to say that her mother, on her deathbed, finally expressed her appreciation towards her, a middle child.
Part of an educator's training would have included a portion on the impact of birth order on a child's personality. What today's education system seems to have neglected is to over-emphasize the importance of knowing the birth order of the child. More significantly, the educator needs to apply the knowledge of the child's birth order and deal and manage the child's behavior or performance in class, with much sensitivity. We certainly cannot adopt a one-size fits all approach.
The middle child is often times, the best or the worst child in the family. This is particularly so, when all three children are of the same sex or when the middle child follows the sex of the first child. She hopes that through her best efforts or her defiance, whichever the case may be, she gets the attention of her parents or wins for herself approval from people other than her own parents.
Talking about being parents. Often times, we excuse ourselves that we treat all our children in the same manner. "We love them alike." Ask yourself again. Probe deeply please.
Often times, human tendencies lead us into sub-consciously putting more attention and love on one or another child more than the middle child.
Personally, I feel that although it may not seem obvious to you and as parents, you always have a way to explain away why you neglected that one question or few words uttered by the middle child, it meant the world to her. Although it may not seem significant to you, accumulating similar experiences of being neglected over an extended period of time, may deeply impact the development of your middle child. The result – an insecure middle child.
Dear parents, do yourself a big favor. If you have the courage to have more than one child, you have the onus to ensure the wholesome development of your middle child into a self-assured and confident adult.
May I suggest this to you – The one child that you don't naturally love as much, it really helps if you could exaggerate every little effort of love for her. Trust me, your little effort will surely go a long way. Make an extra effort today!